My child…my sweet, loving, precocious five year old…is a picky eater.
Let me preface this by noting that she hasn’t ALWAYS been a picky eater. I remember her little chubby baby face covered with things like spaghetti, avocado, green beans, sweet potatoes, and basically anything else I put in front of her.
Let me follow that up with noting that she still eats well—as in, we aren’t living on just grilled cheese quite yet—though her palate is much less expanded than it used to be. The problem we face now is the appearance of the foods I place in front of her. Everything must look JUST SO or it’s basically not edible. I could serve her play doh if it met her appearance requirements. However, I can give her an apple that has a microscopic brown spot on it, and it’s a no-go.
So, for all the other mamas paddling away in the same boat, here are seven actual reasons my child has refused food. These are reasons that have brought on full power, nuclear level meltdowns in some situations. Sometimes, she will cry at the mere suggestion of trying foods.
1. The green beans are too green.
Explaining to her that they are GREEN beans was not an acceptable reason for them to be, you know, green. They shouldn’t be THIS green. A few days later, I was told the green beans were not green enough because, “YOU SAID they were supposed to be green!”
2. The ground beef is too lumpy and the spaghetti sauce has green and brown flecks in it (aka, seasoning).
Ground beef is also too brown. BUT, she does eat steak, which is also brown. No cheeseburger kids meals for us. But offer her Outback Steakhouse, and she’s good to go.
3. Red peppers are too peppery.
Green peppers are acceptable. So are banana peppers. Fresh from the garden, even jalapenos have made the cut.
4. Scrambled eggs are (also) too lumpy.
However, a runny fried egg (which practically makes me gag while cooking it) is totally ok.
We are not even going to get started on the descent into madness that is the grilled cheese sandwich. It started out
“too crusty,” which is typical for kids. So, off with the crusts, and we were good for a while. Then, it was too big for her little mouth. (Her words, not mine. Her mouth is awfully loud for being so small, if you ask me.) So, cut into fourths, and we’re good to go. Then, suddenly, the grilled cheeses had to be cut into 9 pieces. And not only that, the 9 pieces had to be the same size. So now lunch is a geometry project. BUT, she eats, right? RIGHT?!
Here’s a grilled cheese cut into 9 pieces. They aren’t exactly perfect, but by some miracle, she ate them.
5. Sweet potatoes are gross unless they’re in fry form and baked.
They cannot be mashed (too mushy), baked (too crispy), cubed (too square), roasted (they taste like the oven), or fried (too shiny). What am I thinking trying to feed her this? HOW COULD I?!
It’s not just meal food, either. Desserts are not to be left out of the equation.
6. Chocolate cannot have ANY additions.
No sprinkles. No nuts. No designs on it. No additional flavoring. Oh, and it needs to be in milk chocolate form ONLY. If it is not in Hershey bar or M & M form, it’s not going in her belly. This makes Easter egg hunts and trick-or-treating a complete blast. She cries over Starbursts, and my husband and I gain 5 lbs.
7. Cookies must be sugar or chocolate chip.
If they ARE sugar, they must be iced, and they can either be the very cheap iced sugar cookies with brightly colored icing and sprinkles from Wal-Mart OR from Starbucks. Oh, and chocolate chip cookies can either be homemade or from Starbucks. Ouch—my wallet!
These cookies are organic, gluten free, and flavored with fruit and veggies. They actually taste exactly like animal crackers—which used to be ok. These, however, are unacceptable simply because they are colored.
But, it’s not all “No” and “Eww” in my house. Some of her favorite things to eat are really healthy and “odd” for kids her age—for example: almond milk, veggie chips, and green pepper strips (remember, GREEN peppers are ok!). That being said, I suppose all is not lost!